CARES Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19.

One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic. Southside Virginia Community College received $1,677,846 in CARES funds.  $838,923 of that is dedicated to student emergency grants.


When will CARES/HEERF be available?

Southside Virginia Community College has applied for funding from the federal CARES Act, and as soon as we receive that funding from the U.S. Department of Education, we will begin distributing grants to students based on financial need. As of June 30, 2020, $776,000.00 has been distributed to 776 eligible SVCC students. Students were notified via their MY SVCC Message Center.

Who is eligible for CARES/HEERF?

Eligibility for CARES/HEERF is based on the criteria established by the Department of Education. The estimated total number of students at SVCC eligible to participate in federal financial aid programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 is 1067. Of that 1067 students, 776 are eligible based on the additional eligibility guidelines below. Each of the 776 SVCC students will receive $1,000 in emergency grants. These students who meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid and who have the greatest financial need with an expected family contribution (EFC) under $50,001 were considered for these funds. The SVCC Financial Aid Office used Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) data to determine your eligibility. Under the U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, these funds can be awarded to undergraduate students pursuing degree programs and enrolled at SVCC. Some additional details about eligibility are below.

  • Students must have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for Aid Year 2019-2020, are eligible for federal student aid, are meeting satisfactory academic progress requirements and have resolved all requirements with the financial aid office and be free of loan default.
  • Students must have citizenship confirmed by the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security.
  • Students must be actively enrolled in at least 6 credit hours delivered onsite or at one of SVCC’s centers for the spring 2020 semester at the time of the declaration of the national emergency on March 13, 2020.
  • The EFC (Expected Family Contribution, determined by FAFSA) of the student is less than or equal to $50,000.
  • Students may not be incarcerated.
  • Dual enrollment students are not eligible as they are ineligible for federal financial aid.

What is the SVCC CARES Act Relief Grant?

The CARES Act directed universities to prioritize students whose family income is in the low- to low-middle income categories, and SVCC wants to provide economic relief quickly to students who may have experienced additional expenses and/or a loss of income in spring semester due to COVID-19. We have used the CARES Act emergency aid funds to provide a standard relief grant of $1,000 per student, based on the family income reported on your FAFSA and the criteria above.

These funds are meant to help students pay expenses for technology, health care, childcare, course materials, rent, food, moving or other expenses incurred. If you have yet to experience financial stress due to COVID-19, these funds can help with unanticipated expenses or income loss that may occur throughout the semester and into future semesters.

Any funds not exhausted based on spring semester student registrations will be disbursed to students during the fall semester with potentially lower EFC limits.

Why didn’t I receive the SVCC CARES Act Relief Grant?

Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid programs are not eligible for federal CARES grants. Please review the eligibility criteria above. If you believe, based on the criteria above, that you should have qualified and did not receive funds, please contact the Financial Aid Office at or at 434.949.1094

Do I need to report financial aid or grants on my federal tax return?

Each financial award you receive from the federal government and other sources will have separate and unique tax consequences for your federal tax return. Visit the website for assistance.

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